Cotton Patch Gospel (musical)

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Cotton Patch Gospel is a musical play about the life of Jesus Christ. Harry Chapin was the composer and lyricist for the play. The play is based on Clarence Jordan's book "The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew and John". While completing the music in his life time, Chapin did not live to see it's first performance. After Harry's death, brother Tom took over the role of musical director and the play premiered in fall of 1981.

A commercial cast album and video of the play are also available.



  1. "Something's Brewing in Gainesville"
  2. "I Did It/Mama Is Here"
  3. "It Isn't Easy"
  4. "Sho Nuff"
  5. "Turn It Around"
  6. "When I Look Up"
  7. "Busy Signals"
  8. "Spitball"
  9. "Going to Atlanta"
  10. "Are We Ready?"
  11. "You are Still My Boy"
  12. "We Gotta Get Organized"
  13. "We're Gonna Love It While It Lasts"
  14. "Jubilation"
  15. "The Last Supper'
  16. "Jud"
  17. "Thank God for Governor Pilate"
  18. "One More Tomorrow"
  19. "Well I Wonder"

Premiere performance

Cotton Patch Gospel premiered on October 21, 1981 at Lambs Theatre in New York City and ran for 193 performances.

It starred Tom Key and featured the band known as The Cotton Pickers that was put together for the show. The Cotton Pickers were:

Other credits include

Performances (partial list)


  • October 21 - Opened at Lambs Theatre in New York City. This original production ran for 183 performances.


  • July 18 - Opened at the Woodstock, IL USA Opera House. It played through August 24.


  • March 7 - Lyceum Space in San Diego, CA. The LA Times noted that "Quality acting is this production's strength. The three-man ensemble clearly enjoys performing this play..."[1]


The Edyth Bush Theatre in Orlando, FL, USA featured a young Wayne Brady in their production. The exact dates are unknown.


  • April 4 - Citrus College, Azusa, CA
  • November 14-16 - First Christian Church, by the Studio Repertory Company, - a benefit for River City Habitat for Humanity


  • April 6 - Smothers Theater, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA with Special Consensus[2]


  • April 23-25 - Bevier Hall, University of Illinois, Urbana by the Christian Theatre Music Group
  • October 24 - Carson Valley United Methodist Church, Gardnerville, NV
  • November 21 - Pacific Theater, BC, Canada. the play was reviewed by the BC Christian News


Actor's Summit in Akron, OH performed this in the inaugural season. Exact dates are unknown.


  • March 17-19,24-26 - Stow Presbyterian Church, Stow, OH, USA
  • June 7-10 - Emporia State University, Emporia, KS, USA


  • April 24 - Theatre of Gadsden's Ritz Theatre in Gadsen, AL through May 4th.[3]



  • March 10 - Fullerton Auditorium in Gaffney, SC[4]
  • April 28 - June 5 - Provision Theater Company, Chicago,IL, USA
  • October 22 - November 20 - Theater Outfit at the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, Atlanta, GA. Tom Key returns to the reprise role he originated in the premier over 20 years ago. The review in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says "Verdict: Might make you believe, in something."[5]



  • March 30 - April 8 - Macon Little Theater, Macon, GA.[7]
  • July 19 - 22 - Fairfax Community Theatre Company, Fairfax, VT, USA. They also produced a short PSA style ad for their production and published it on YouTube[1].
  • November 15 to December 1 - Brownsboro High School, Brownsboro, TX, USA.


  • January 4-13 - St. Luke United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN, USA.
  • February 7-16 - Ocoee Players, Cleveland, TN, USA.
  • February 14-16 - University Congregational Church in Wichita, KS, USA. Half the proceeds will go to the local food bank.
  • February 21-March 2 - Stained Glass Theatre, Joplin, MO, USA.
  • February 22-24 - St John's Lutheran Church, Anchor, IL, USA.
  • February 22-24 - Second Avenue Baptist Church, Rome, GA, USA.
  • April 2-6 - Eastern University Theatre, St. Davids, PA, USA.
  • May 1-11 - Old Courthouse Theatre, Concord, NC, USA
  • June 13-28 - Gallery 7 Theatre & Performing, Abbotsford, BC, Canada.
  • October 1-21 - PlayRight Productions, Kennessaw, GA, USA.


  • April 4 - Bruce Kuhn performed his one man show at the Kearney Community Theater in Kearney, Nebraska.[8]
  • May - Loaves & Laughs Dinner Theatre, King of Kings Lutheran Church, Woodbury, MN.[9]
  • May 30-June 14 - Totem Pole Playhouse, Fayetteville, PA, USA
  • November 20 - Next Stage Theater in the historic Trinity Church in San Francisco, CA. The play ran through December 20th. [10]


  • March 30 - April 2 - Trinity Presbyterian Church in Fairhope, AL.[11]
  • April 15 - Bruce Kuhn performed his one man version to kickoff the Spring Arts Festival in Fairfax, Virginia at the Truro Church.[12]
  • April 15 - The Performing Arts Guild performed at Pinecrest Grove Theater in Mt. Morris, Illinois through April 17.[13]
  • March 31 - Phil Kaufmann launches his series of over 30 Cotton Patch Gospel performances at Willow Springs Mennonite Church in his hometown of Tiskilwa, Illinois. The performance is a unique one-man show with other characters provided via a multimedia backdrop. This event is part of his larger Cotton Patch Gospel Food Project series of benefit performance for WhyHunger and other local food charities.[14]
  • April 1 - April 10 - The Alexandria Area Arts Association has a two week run at the AAAA Theater in Alexandria, MN.[15]
  • November 4 - November 5 - Bethany College in Hepburn, SK, Canada.[16]
  • November 18 - Everyone's Theatre Company at the Theater Association of New York State (TANYS) festival in the Stuart Steiner Theatre in the Genesee Center for the Arts in Batavia, New York.[17]
  • December 10 - 11 - Fort Payne City Hall Auditorium in Fort Payne, AL[18]


  • March 28 - Phil Kaufmann performs Cotton Patch Gospel at Starved Rock State Park, Illinois. The performance is a unique one-man show with other characters provided via a multimedia backdrop. This event is part of a larger series of benefits of his Cotton Patch Gospel Food Project.[21]

Unknown dates

  • The Special Consensus toured for three seasons as the cast of Cotton Patch Gospel.


  1. Godfrey, John (March 9, 1988). "Gusto Abounds in Staging of Biblical Story : Musical Comedy: Lamb's Players Theatre produces 'Cotton Patch Gospel' at the Lyceum Space". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA). Retrieved 2012-02-18 . 
  2. "The Guide". Los Angeles Magazine (Los Angeles, CA): p. 104. April 1997. Retrieved 2012-01-13 . 
  3. Bingham, Joshua.. "Scriptural script". Gadsen Times (Gadsen, GA). Retrieved 2011-12-28 . 
  4. "Cotton Patch Gospel will play here Thursday in Fullerton Auditorium". Gaffney Ledger (Gaffney, SC). March 9, 2005. Retrieved 2012-02-18 . 
  5. Brook, Wendell. "‘Cotton Patch’ at Theatrical Outfit". Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, GA). Retrieved 2011-03-19 . 
  6. ""Cotton Patch Gospel" Coming to Westminster April 7 and 9" New Wilmington, PA: Westminster University. Retrieved 2011-03-19  
  7. Gray, Kimberly (March 2007) "Musical Moments" Georgia Magazine. Retrieved 2013-03-19  
  8. "April 4, 2009 Broadway Actor Bruce Kuhn performing "Cotton Patch Gospel"" (pdf) Kearney, Nebraska: Fox Nebraska March 4, 2009. Retrieved 2012-02-19  
  9. "When I Look Up (video)" YouTube May 2009. Retrieved 2013-02-13  
  10. "Cotton Patch Gospel" Custom Made Theatre Company. Retrieved 2011-12-273  
  11. "Cotton Patch Gospel ~ a musical play" Fairhope, AL: Trinity Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 2011-3-13  
  12. "Kickoff Event, Dinner Theater Featuring “Cotton Patch Gospel” Performed by Bruce Kuh" (pdf) Fairfax, VA: Truro Church. Retrieved 2012-02-19  
  13. "Cotton Patch Gospel-The Greatest Story Ever Retold!" The Performing Arts Guild Mt. Morris, IL: Facebook. Retrieved 2012-02-18  
  14. "History" Cotton Patch Gospel Food Project Tiskilwa, IL. Retrieved 2012-01-28  
  15. "Our 2010-11 Season" Alexandria Area Arts Association. Retrieved 2011-3-13  
  16. Dyck, Darlene (November 7, 2001). "Gainsville Georgia comes to Hepburn". The Bethany College Connection (Hepburn, SK, Canada: Bethany College) . 
  17. "GCC play picked for TANYS Fest". The Daily News (Batavia, NY). November 3, 2001 . 
  18. "‘Cotton Patch Gospel’ coming to area stage" Gadsen, AL: Gadsen Times. Retrieved 2011-12-28  
  19. "BTSR Shoestring Players Present: Cotton Patch Gospel" Facebook. Retrieved 2012-02-18  
  20. "Stow Players stage 'Cotton Patch Gospel'" Bedford Times Register January 16, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-18  
  21. "Special Events and Festivals" State Rock State Park. Retrieved 2012-01-28  

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